Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Mike Gill Show: A new year--the same old crew...

Well, it may be a brand new year but it’s the same old mischief for Mr. Gill and myself. Our first segment this year on ESPN 1450’s Mike Gill Show will deal with the following topics:
  • What are your thoughts on the new Jose Canseco book and what did you think of the information in the old one? Is it time to stop reporting this and try to move on or is this a good thing?
  • If you were Mike Wallace asking questions to Roger Clemens--what would you ask ?
  • Here are five Hall of Fame candidates: Andre Dawson, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Alan Trammell, Shawon Dunston and Dale Murphy—do you think any will make it?

What are your thoughts on the new Jose Canseco book and what did you think of the information in the old one? Is it time to stop reporting this and try to move on or is this a good thing?

Well, Canseco’s points have been borne out more often than not. I’d say he has a lot of credibility on this particular topic. He knows there are a lot of people who would love to sue him so I can’t see him being careless when making allegations. We know he has made noises regarding Alex Rodriguez several times and I wonder what corroborating evidence he has should he mention A-Rod.

Part of me wants to move on in all this but there are too many political points to be scored yet on both the government and Bud Selig’s part. While trying to get a handle on the issue is a major headache and probably futile--it would be nice to see strong disincentives for using steroids in MLB in place. Until the MLBPA takes unilateral steps and puts strong sanctions in place for their membership, this will go on and on. Right now, it seems that the government is dragging the union into this. Until the MLBPA becomes proactive rather than enabling it is an uphill climb.

If you were Mike Wallace asking questions to Roger Clemens--what would you ask?

Chances are good that Wallace will ask any good questions I might come up with. I guess I’d ask Clemens what motivation Brian MacNamee would have to lie? He’ll suffer both privately and financially due to his testimony and there were even stronger disincentives for lying about it. Why would a man deliberately damage his reputation and finances knowing full well that doing so would also get him a reservation for the Greg Anderson suite? Let’s assume Roger Clemens is telling the truth—now to lie about this to not only destroys his reputation and hurts him in the pocket book, but also lands him in prison. It seems like MacNamee was looking at two choices—giving up his reputation or his liberty.

Personally, the testimony given by MacNamee has become a ‘he said/he said’ with no way for either to prove or disprove the allegations. Until something more concrete surfaces than the word of one trainer, I’m going to hold back on judging Clemens. One person’s testimony absent other evidence isn’t much. Sure, it is naïve on my part but I wouldn’t wish to be judged in that manner so why do it to somebody else.

Like I’ve written about Sammy Sosa, I think Clemens has used, but I wouldn’t base any judgements (like the Hall of Fame) on my suspicions. Time generally reveals the truth and we have to be patient. I’m a long way from ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’ for either one. Since I personally cannot level a guilty verdict based on the evidence at hand, I have to assume they’re clean. Brian MacNamee’s word isn’t truth—it’s an unsubstantiated allegation at this point.

Here are five Hall of Fame candidates: Andre Dawson, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Alan Trammell, Shawon Dunston and Dale Murphy—do you think any will make it?

I don’t think any will make it. Here are my takes as to their worthiness:

Andre Dawson: For a long time I thought he doesn’t belong—that OBP is scary low. I saw his career and felt he never came through in big situations—the numbers state otherwise. For a bona fide Gold Glove fielder at a key defensive position with so many plusses on his résumé (1000 extra base hits, 2774 hits, a career SLG average 87 points higher than league average over 21 seasons, five 20-20 years) it seems a little odd to hold his lack of walks against so many positives. Nobody held Richie Ashburn’s below league average SLG (.382) against him. All the other positives outweighed that one negative—well the same goes for Dawson. It’s a recent epiphany on my part.

Chuck Knoblauch: I thought he was well on his way to being an elite leadoff hitter. Between his defensive yips and being linked to PED use he isn’t on anybody’s radar.

David Justice: Hall of the Very Good; he was a fine ballplayer but nowhere near close to the Cooperstown territory.

Alan Trammell: Hugely overqualified for the Hall of Fame. I’m a Blue Jays fan and I thought he got jobbed in 1987 in MVP voting (George Bell). Here’s a THT snippet about this:

I'm among the many who feel very strongly that the 1987 MVP should've gone to Alan Trammell. It was like the BBWAA was giving Toronto a consolation prize. What other possible explanation could there be? Over the two weeks leading up to the Jays' meltdown, both George Bell (.382/.407/.655; nine runs, four HR, 13 RBI) and Trammell (.491/.548/.782; 10 runs, three HR, nine RBI) are playing like MVPs. Both are red hot, but the Tigers’ shortstop is playing like a god both offensively and defensively.

Finally the fateful seven games; Trammell cools a bit, which is hardly surprising since that pace is hardly sustainable, but still is .333/.419/.519; four runs, one HR, three RBI and is four-for-four in stolen bases (over the final three weeks). Meanwhile, Bell totally loses it (.111/.250/.111; one run, one HR, four RBI) right along with the rest of the offense.

The Tigers complete their miracle finish and the "Blow Jays" have reverted to form and they give the MVP to Bell?


A slick defensive shortstop posts an OPS+ of 155 on a division winner while an unremarkable defensive left fielder with an 146 OPS+ who, it should be noted, helped pull off one of the great choke jobs in the game's history is named most valuable player?

I realize they didn't have OPS+ back then, but Trammell's a 20-20 multiple Gold Glove winning shortstop who was caught stealing twice all season and batted .343/.402/.551 with 200 hits and more than 100 runs scored and 100 RBI. He doesn't win over an average defender at a power position batting .308/.352/.605 playing half his games at old Exhibition Stadium, which at the time was probably the best hitting park in the circuit?

Bell had a great year, true enough, but to this day this was one of the most boneheaded MVP votes I have ever seen. All because he led the league in RBI. After that final week, it never dawned on me that Trammell wouldn't win. One of many dark thoughts in the aftermath of the Jays' collapse was "there goes Bell's MVP." After all, Trammell got it done all year including when the AL East flag was on the line.

He’ll likely, as did Lou Whitaker, get screwed out of his rightful place at the Hall. He was the total package: he could hit, hit with power, draw a walk, steal bases, and field beautifully—what more does anyone want? This (along with Whitaker) is one of the BBWAA’s biggest blunders.

Shawon Dunston: No chance, no hope. Enjoyed an 18 year career and left it all on the field—I think he’s content with that.

Dale Murphy: I’m turning this post into a THT clip show, but it sure beats re-writing it. Here’s what I wrote this after the last HOF vote:

Probably the best pure head-scratchers are the vote totals for Jim Rice and Dale Murphy. Both had similar careers in that they enjoyed terrific peaks before falling off a cliff. Rice had a Runs Created Above Average from 1977-86 of 264, while Murphy had an RCAA of 283 from 1979-87. Rice won an MVP; Murphy won back-to-back MVPs. Rice hit 382 home runs in 8,225 at-bats while Murphy banged 398 in 7,960 at-bats. Rice went to one more All-Star Game than Murphy, yet he won two more Silver Sluggers than Rice. Also Murphy had a quintet of Gold Gloves while Rice’s defensive abilities were unremarkable.

Rice is sixth all-time in grounding into double plays while Murphy is 60th. Murphy was a better base runner while Rice had more RBIs and 100-RBI seasons. Finally Rice’s career OPS+ of 128 is better than Murphy’s 121, but that has to be weighed against Murphy’s better defense at a more demanding defensive position.

Bottom line, you could argue until you were blue in the face on who was the better player, yet Rice received 346 votes (63.5%) while Murphy garnered just 50 (9.2%). Am I missing something? Is it the RBIs (1,451 to 1,266)? The batting average (.298 to .265)? It sure ain’t because of their relations with the media.

Personally, I’d put him in before Jim Rice based on both objective and subjective evidence. I think Murphy doesn’t quite make it but he wouldn’t embarrass the Hall of Fame either.

Best Regards


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